Blending and Shadowing for Soft Effects

September 6th, 2014

Aloha! Natacha here, surfing around … This is my first post in the tutorial area for Jen Allyson Digital Designs, and I’m happy to share some little tips for you to enjoy. I love blending papers and adding subtle shadows – and these techniques work really well with the soft color palettes in some of Jen’s kits. Below is a layout that shows examples of these techniques (kit credits are listed under the layout, in case you want to grab anything):

JenAllison CT-Solysombra - arradon

Credits: all by Jen Allyson Digital Design



Here is a great way to blend two papers. Start by choosing two papers with a similar color palette and intensity or depth of color. Insert a transparent layer between them and then follow these steps —

  1. Select the first paper layer and click Control+G to associate the transparent layer. You’ll know when this is done correctly when the second layer indents or shifts to the right in the layers palette.
  2. Select the second layer (transparent) and then select the Gradient Tool from your toolbox.
  3. Select white and transparent gradient.
  4. Click at the top of your layer and drag a line straight down to the bottom.

That’s it!  You now have the blended papers, going top to bottom on your layout. The gradient tool serves as a way to (essentially) hide part of one paper and reveal pieces of another. For something a little different, you can also go side to side with the blending, or even diagonally.

Jen CT - Solysombra-tuto1b


And now, quick and easy shadowing

  1. First, choose one of your favorite stamps (particularly love Jen’s Vanity Fair collections …).
  2. Insert a white paper as the layer immediately above your stamp layer.
  3. Click Control+G to associate white paper and stamp layer. Once again, the associated layer should shift to the right.
  4. Select the stamp layer and apply a shadow effect by clicking on the small “fx” button on the far right of the layer information.
  5. Choose small size for the shadow (only a few pixels) and change the color of your shadow. When you click on the color box, a pop-up window with the color options will appear.
  6. Select a color that will give you some transparency, like a light grey or brown.

Once again, that’s all there is to it. Adding shadows to brushes and stamps can give you a whole new way of using these items in your stash – and make your digital dollar go further.

Jen CT - Solysombra -tuto1a

Can’t wait to see what you come up with.


Mini Album featuring Market Street

August 7th, 2014


Clique Kits contacted me about a month ago and told me that their new August 2014 kit was going to feature the Market Street Collection that I designed for My Mind’s Eye, and that they wanted to do a spotlight of me (I’ll link to that when its live). They were also gracious enough to send me a kit of my own to play with. What a great excuse to get some crafting done!


This kit is just full of gorgeousness. I love all of the “raw” items that they paired with my papers and embellishements. The burlap letters, cork shapes, wood textures, gold doilies etc. are just the perfect addition to my Market Street line. I especially love the mini flair, the wood hearts with gold pain, and the burlap bows!theprojectgirl-travel-mini-album-detail

I knew I wanted to create a mini scrapbook (it will look perfect sitting on my office shelves), and it was the perfect opportunity to pull out my photos of the trip I took to london in June of this year. theprojectgirl-travel-mini-album-detail2

Here’s the full album:

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Getting The Most Out of Your Digital Scrapbooking Kits

August 4th, 2014

Hi everyone!  It’s Katherine (or Kat) here and today I wanted to talk to you about getting the most out of your digital scrapbooking kits. Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you browse digital stores and galleries and think, “Oh, there’s a cute kit,” or “Wow, I must have that!” only to realize that maybe there’s things in the kit that, well, just don’t work for you. You then wonder if the dollars you’ll investment in the kit are worth it if you’re only going to buy it for just a few items. You’ve been there, haven’t you? Come on, fess up. How many times have you purchased a kit because there’s one or two things that you totally love, but that’s all? Well, I’m here to tell you a little secret: Psst (you listening?), you can change digital elements, if you want to. *gasp!*

I have a great deal of respect for digital designers. I’ve been lucky to meet quite a few in person and have even had the opportunity to watch them work – amazing. I’ve seen Jen (yes, Jen Allyson!) work magic with a laptop touch pad and keyboard shortcuts. Now, that said, I’ve been known to change design elements or papers a bit when what I have doesn’t quite fit with what I need. We’ve all done that, right? Recolored an element, blended papers, added filters, or run actions. What I’m going to show you today is actually breaking down an element, or deconstructing it, and creating something new. Now, before I go too much further, there’s something really important that you need to remember: If you change any piece of a digital scrapbook kit, it is scrapbooking etiquette to indicate in your layout or project credits that you modified something from the original kit. For example, you could include the words modified, or some elements recolored in your credits when posting in online galleries, blogs, or on social media platforms.

One of the newer releases from Jen Allyson Digital is these watercolor days of the week and numbers:

Watercolor Days

By themselves, these are great; a bunch of hand-drawn (or painted) days and numbers. My immediate thought was, “Oooh, these would be perfect for Project Life pages!” … but I’m not doing Project Life this year. Okay, so I could still use them on all kinds of things. Then I had one of those ah-ha moments and thought, “Hey Kat, how about you change things around a bit?” — and so I did. Although there isn’t a full alphabet represented in the letters, there was just enough to create the perfect title on a layout I was working on. I needed “Then” and “Now”. Here’s how my page turned out. I’ve included a close-up of the word “Now”, so you can see the detail:



Credits: Watercolor Creations (modified) and Cork Elements – Jen Allyson Digital Designs;
Travel Adventures and Back to Basics – Digital Scrapbook Ingredients; My Tribe – Gennifer Bursett


So, the big question is – how the heck did I do that?!  It’s actually easier than you might think.

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